Europe – Here We Go (Pt. 1 – Departure)

At long last, we have arrived in Europe for our first leg of our experiment in travel and freedom. Our house has been rented out to wonderful tenants, all of our stuff is safely stored and our Google Fi phones are working exactly as expected (free texting!). Things are going well, but it has been an eventful couple of days as we’ve made this transition to long-term travel.

Our Mad Dash to Being at the Airport for 5 hours

Our last few days in Missouri went by in a blur as we worked our tails off putting final touches on our house, packing ALL of our stuff, moving in with Chad’s folks (thank you!), working on our businesses and getting in most of our final see-you-in-September visits with family and friends.

We spent our departure day working on some last-minute business and trip details while doing a final load of laundry and then went over to our house to get the last of the work done. I got to have lunch with my best friend while Chad ran final errands. After that, I was packing until the moment we left. We were out the door just 15 minutes after our hoped-for departure time, which would give us time to see a couple of friends in St. Louis before returning our rental car (doing a one-way rental was less expensive than taking the airport shuttle) by 5:45 p.m. to avoid another day’s charge.

Ninety minutes into our drive, I realized I forgot my glasses. This was a big problem because I have very poor eyesight and I really need them if I get up in the night. After 15 minutes of brainstorming solutions and calling optometry stores, we decided we’d have to go back for them. After a phone call to Chad’s parents, they very kindly agreed to meet us halfway with the glasses, but the result was that we missed out on seeing dear St. Louis friends (not to mention putting Chuck and Mona to the trouble of jumping in the car and driving to meet us). Not an auspicious start to the trip, but we got through it.

The strict rental car return meant that after all that rushing around, we had 5 hours to spend at the airport before our flight. We put it to good use getting some last minute computer things done (like hiring someone on Thumbtack to take care of all the yard waste we’d stacked on our lawn!) and having dinner and drinks so we’d sleep on our flight.

WOW! (Our experience with the new-to-St.-Louis budget carrier)

We were very impressed by WOW Air on our flight to Reykjavik (actually, the airport is in Keflavik, about 30 miles or so outside of Reykjavik). WOW’s St. Louis flight only started about a week ago, so the staff at the ticket counter were still learning as they checked in our two bags, but all seemed to go ok. Our seats had enough legroom to feel comfortable to us and our very last Amazon Prime purchase had been masks and earplugs for each of us. Chad was pretty successful at getting some sleep. I didn’t do as well, but definitely got a few hours and wasn’t too tired when we arrived in Iceland for our 19-hour layover.

What we didn’t know until we got to Frankfurt the next day is that one of our two bags didn’t make it (luckily, it was the one with my clothes and shoes; the other bag had – in addition to Chad’s clothes – all of our toiletries and some household stuff I brought along, which would be harder and less fun to replace). We reported it to the lost luggage people at the airport in Frankfurt and they are trying to track it down. So far, there is no update as to the status of the lost bag.

Luckily, we purchased travel insurance for our trip which covers our medical, trip cancellation and lost/delayed luggage. So depending on if/when we get it back, we’ll file a claim and be reimbursed a certain amount of replacement costs. In addition, it was raining hard when we left Iceland for Frankfurt and the bag that did make it was very wet, including much of our stuff inside. I don’t know how common that is because it has been years since I’ve checked a bag when flying, but it was a bit annoying. So far, we’re making the best of the lost bag and replacing my clothes and shoes little by little. I’m still hopeful it will be found and catch up to us.

So, my review of WOW is mixed so far. We’ll see if my bag is found. If it is, I know I’ll forgive the delay. If it isn’t, there are a few items in there that I really would be sad to lose (that really cute cityscape skirt!), though I know it is only stuff and stuff doesn’t matter that much.

Part 2 of this post will cover our super-fun super-long layover in Iceland, which is a great advantage of flying WOW.

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